Disclaimer: I don't own fallout new Vegas.

A/N: I wrote this after finishing Dead Money- I don't know why it came into my head.

Hello again, partner.

Boone glared at a random spot of the bunkers wall, he and that robot Ed-E hadn't moved from the spot since they had been knocked out.

His eyes narrowed, he could remember waking up, and Ed-E going on the Fritz he was acting completely mad and he soon found out why.

'Claire…' he looked down and clenched his fists. She was annoying, she was clumsy, she was a flirt who always seemed to get her way, she constantly irritated him with her swooning over portraits of pre-war men especially that Domonic? Dominate? Fellow.

He shook his head, it didn't matter- it didn't matter how much she irritated him- she was so much more to him than an irritation…

…she was his friend… he hadn't used that word about someone for such a long time it made something twist in his chest. She was everything he hadn't seen in the wastes before. She was kind, she did everything she could to help people even when it seemed impossible… but none of that mattered, she had taken the time to help him with his scars, when she didn't have to, she was a true friend.

He looked up at Ed-E who was floating back and forward across the room. Claire was probably the best thing that had happened to him since Carla, he wasn't ready to loose her yet and that was why he was waiting, he wasn't moving until he saw her again.

He closed his eyes, he had hardly slept since he had woken up, he was so tired…

"BZZZ!ERK!"

His eyes shot open and he looked at Ed-E who was spinning around the sealed door of the bunker.

"Urgh…" A voice called from the other side of the door.

"Claire!" Boone jumped from the spot he had been sitting at and rushed to the door, his hand clamped on the handle and he pulled, expecting the door to resist he almost landed on his rear as it flung open with ease.

"Urgh… Boone…" Boone's eyes widened as he saw Claire reach out for him while vomiting water at the same time.

Boone caught the courier as she passed out. His eyes narrowed, something had poisoned her. He lifted her. "Ed-E follow me."

XXX

Boone glared at the door of the Lucky 38 suit, he had somehow gotten her back to Vegas dosing her with a stimpac and a homemade antidote had helped her for the trip, but she needed medical help, so upon arriving at Vegas he had taken straight to the lucky 38 to get help from Arcade.

Boone's glare hardened further than anyone would have thought possible, Arcade had been treating her for 7 hours now, it couldn't have been that bad… could it? A coldness took his heart, he hoped she was okay…

"Boone dearie would you like to help granny make some cookies for Clairy when she wakes up?" Lily's voice from the kitchen almost made him jump.

"No." was all he said.

Veronica and Cass eyed him wearily, while they were worried for Claire they at least had it in them to move from the spot, they knew that when she woke up she'd kick them in the rears if they stayed in the one spot waiting for her.

"I wonder what happened to the boss?" Raul spoke as he walked out of the kitchen carrying a tray of at least twenty cookies that Lily had just finished making. "She was gone for a long time with you… I assumed…" the old ghoul went silent for a moment. "It… doesn't matter what I thought…I just want her to get better."

Boone would have glared at the ghoul it he had the drive too, but when it came down to it, he didn't care what they had thought that he and Claire had been doing.

Cass opened her mouth to say something but whatever she had to say was cut off by Arcade walking out of the suite.

"How is she?" Boone demanded stepping in front of the doctor.

Arcade smiled weakly. "After being shot in the head and living, nothing she does surprises me now." Arcade let out a small chuckle that Boon did not appreciate- he failed to see any humour in the situation. "Err…" Arcade stammered realising the look he was receiving from the sniper. "W-what I am trying to say- quite badly I know… is that as long as she gets a few days rest and a few stimpacs to the painful looking rub rash on her neck and she'll pull through."

"What happened to her neck?" Veronica piped.

Arcade hesitated for a few moments sending Boone a wary look. "W-Well I won't know for sure until she wakes up and can confirm it… but I think that… she was bound with a slave collar-"

A loud bang echoed through the room as Boone punched the wall. Boone glanced at the companions before storming into the elevator.

The room went silent for a few moments before Lily walked out with another tray of cookies. "Would you like some more dearies?"

XXX

It was two days later when she woke from a semi-conscious state and while Arcade had recommended that only one person at a time visit her, the whole crew had ended up surrounding her and she had also ended up with a plate of cookies in her lap.

"Would dearie like some more?" Lily asked smiling her creepy smile.

"N-No… thanks Lily." Claire smiled wearily taking a bit into what looked like a cookie that had been bred with a mirelurk. She took a glance around her companions. "Umm… where's Boone?" she wanted to thank him, she could remember being carried in his arms back to New Vegas.

Cass smirked. "Probably brooding in some dark cave of broodiness."

Veronica laughed in agreement.

Raul sat in the chair beside the Courier's bed and grabbed her hands. "I'm glad you're alright boss." He then leaned in and whispered. "I'm sure he's just waiting until the women are gone to pay you a visit."

Claire smiled. "Thanks Raul. Anything interesting happen while I was gone?" she asked glancing at Arcade and the girls.

Veronica gave her a sad look. "The situation with the Legion and NCR has gotten worse- it'll be all out war real soon."

Claire frowned. "So I guess I have to get up and better soon." She let out a fake laugh. "Great."

X

It was close to midnight when Claire heard Boone open the door and walk into her suite- she was actually surprised he came without her asking him, then again she had a feeling Raul might of given Boone one of his 'old man pep talks'.

"Boone." She said quietly as he sat in one of the chairs by her bed.

He nodded at her. "What happened?" now anyone else would have been offended by how Boone didn't even ask if she was okay or even see if she needed anything, but Claire wasn't- she knew the sniper well enough to know that those words said more than what say twenty words could.

She let out a sigh. "You know what Boone." She pushed herself up so that she could sit on the bed- wincing slightly as her hair rubbed against the red raw skin on her neck. "After we kick Legion ass at Hoover Dam you and me are gunna go out drinking and I'm gunna tell you every damn detail about that god forsake place…" she pressed her hand against the skin on her neck. "but right now… I… don't really have it in me."

Now, when she had said those words to Cass and Veronica the girls had flipped out and sulked a little that she didn't want to talk about it- but Boone merely nodded, understanding her sentiments entirely.

She smiled. "You know I probably would have died in there… but I had people who helped me." She glanced up at Boone who was watching her with a raised brow. "Boone," she grinned. "I got to meet Dean Domino!"

Boone frowned, wasn't that the guy whose picture she always said looked attractive? But if he were still alive then..

Upon seeing the confusion on his face she decided to elaborate. "Yes he's a ghoul, and a narcissistic bastard but if it weren't for him I would have died so many times, he was the first person I met in that hellish place and he was probably the closest thing I had to a friend in there… even if he is a total bastard." She let out a small laugh.

"Does this mean I won't have to listen to 'I wish I could meet the people in these posters they look so cool, especially that Dean, he's so handsome'" Boone didn't imitate her voice, he spoke in his normal monotonous voice and for that reason he made the Courier laugh.

"I still think he's handsome, even if he is a ghoul." She grinned.

XXX

The Courier sighed as she walked into the Lucky 38, she stepped into the elevator and waited for it to take it to her suite. So many things had happened, meeting the burning man, big mountain, the battle of Hoover Damn… the big divide… she closed her eyes and pressed her fingers against a bandage on her arm, she had just staggering back from the divide and she was glad to be gone from the place… and now she needed a rest.

The doors of the elevator opened and she staggered out- even though the NCR was in control of Vegas the Lucky 38 was still hers- for some reason they had decided to put her in charge of Vegas, and provided that the NCR received a "small" percentage of The Strips profits then she could do whatever the hell she wanted with it- Honestly she didn't care how Vegas ran so she had put The King in charge of Freeside and let the families run as they always had.

She walked to her bed without taking in any of her surroundings- someone could have come in and stabbed her and she wouldn't have noticed at this point. "Bed…" she murmured collapsing onto her bed. "Sleep…"

"Long day?" a smooth voice chuckled.

Claire's eyes shot open and she jumped to a seated position, arms up ready to punch. Only to see Boone, Raul and Ed-E standing/floating there with their brows raised, and the tiniest of smirks on Boone's face.

"Oh…" Claire sighed and relaxed. "Sorry…" she smiled nervously. "Its good to see you guys…" it was no lie, after dealing with everything that the divide had to offer she was so glad to see them all.

"I have some time off." Boone began. "Thought I'd take you up on that offer."

It took her a few moments to realise what he was talking about, but then she realized, he was talking about her promise to tell him about all of those places she had gone to without them. "Just let me…" she collapsed onto her bed. "…have a few hours sleep…."

Boone smiled softly before turning to get a drink of coffee- well he would have if there had been coffee, but apparently all the courier had was that weird drink she made from the cloud stuff, so he instead opted to go find some whiskey in the stash he had left under his old bed… only to be told by Raul that Claire had snagged it and drank herself stupid after coming back from Zion.

XXX

Boone waited patiently for Claire to get ready, she, Raul and himself were going to The Tops for some celebratory drinking. "Umm Boone… how do I look?" Boone turned and nearly gaped- nearly.

Claire scratched her arm nervously, she was wearing Vera's dress that she had 'acquired' in the Sierra Madre. She wasn't used to wearing a dress and she wasn't sure if she even looked good in a dress.

"You're looking beautiful boss." Raul put a hand on her back and smiled.

Claire smiled wearily. "Lets go drink."

Boone could only nod in response- and for some reason he just knew that Raul was laughing at him when Claire walked past him and his eyes landed on one of the two areas accentuated by the dress.

X

"You met the burned man?" Boone said slowly trying to take in everything that she was telling him in- it was strange hearing about her adventures, especially when she had told him about Dr. Mobious and the Big Mountain.

Claire opened her mouth to speak but stopped when the lights of the theatre room in the tops dimmed- signalling the next act. She glanced at the stage, took a sip of her drink and waited- but nothing could have prepared her for who walked onto the stage.

"D-Dean!" she gasped causing Raul and Boone's eyes to shoot to the stage.

Dean held the microphone in his hands and began to sing, he was wearing his glasses so Claire wasn't sure if he noticed her but if he did he would notice that she was gaping like a fish out of water.

"Boss is that-" Raul didn't get the chance to finish his sentence as Claire rose from her spot and walked straight to the bar.

Through the rest of Dean's singing the Courier drank, her ears hearing the music but not really taking anything in- she didn't even notice when the music stopped, or when someone stood beside her. She only registered the world around her when a voice spoke.

"That dress looks better on you than it ever did on Vera… it fills better on you…" Claire jumped, choked on her vodka and looked up and Dean with wide eyes.

"W-Why are you…here?" she rasped coughing.

He smiled. "Not quite as elegant as Vera was in it though- I don't recall her ever coughing vodka on me either." He picked up a napkin and dabbed the little splashes on his jacket.

Claire flushed. "Just answer me!" she cursed under her breath.

"She didn't swear as much as you either." At the Couriers growl he chuckled. "Very well, I am here because… why not? There's nothing left for me in the Sierra Madre and I hadn't been to Las Vegas in the longest time, so I came here." He paused as though in thought. "Though I must say it's lost a lot of the glamour it used to have- still has the same amount of Elvis impersonators though."

Claire smiled nervously. "So do I need to worry about you, I dunno trying to kill me after what I did in the vault?"

He seemed to think about her words for a minute before smirking. "You killed that bastard and got the collar off me, that's enough for me- though I must admit for a bit there I did want to… talk to you about leaving all of those gold bars in their…"

The Courier flushed. "Well I-" she stammered and tried to find the right words but Dean held a hand up to silence her.

"Relax, I understand." He crossed his arms and leaned against the bar. "If I wanted you dead, believe me I would have done so already." He placed a hand on her shoulder in a way that was meant to be reassuring, but for some reason it made a shiver run down the Couriers back- whether it was pleasant of unpleasant not even Claire knew.

They were silent for a moment before Claire looked up at him with a gleam in her eyes. "The gun attached to your hip is really reassuring."

Dean chuckled. "You're one to talk, Courier." His hand slid to her thigh where a gun was strapped, his rough fingers brushing gently against her smooth flesh.

Claire closed her eyes and went to say something when the song 'Blue Moon' began to play. "I like this song…" she mumbled trying to ignore the thumb rubbing half circles on her thigh. Then before she knew what was happening she found herself being dragged off by Dean, his hand taking hers and the other resting on her hip.

"Dean!" she gasped.

"I haven't heard this in years…" he smiled moving to dance with her. "Miss Lee did a version too, hers was softer…emotional."

"Dean?" Claire tripped over her feet but he continued to hold her and move- why was he dancing with her? She couldn't dance to save her life- seriously if dancing had been the only way to end the fighting at Hoover Damn, then the Legion probably would have killed her like a shoe kills an ant.

Dean didn't answer her and she had the distinct feeling that he was remembering things- a time before the war perhaps? She focused her time on trying not to fall as well as taking him in- she hadn't really been this close to a ghoul before, much less touching one- well she had hugged Raul, but she didn't really pay attention at that point.
He was surprisingly firm, for some reason she had expected him to be squishy, but he was pretty much as hard as any other man she had touched- not that she had much experience that she could remember, just Benny and the few times she had been allowed to touch Boone.

She put a hand to his chin and touched the skin, it was bizarre, she could feel the outlines of the veins and muscle tissue, but it was hard, in an odd way it reminded her of leather- it wasn't… that unpleasant to touch actually.

Dean looked down at her. "Enjoying yourself?" there was a smugness to his voice.

Claire flushed. "I-"

Dean shrugged. "I don't care." He inclined his head. "He does though, I think." He smirked.

Claire looked over and saw Raul and Boone watching them, Raul was smiling, but Boone looked like he was ready to get the trusty old sniper out. "It'll be okay, Boone knows about you and how we looked out for each other- don't worry, you'll be fine, try to hurt me though and both of them will get you." She smiled at him.

Without warning Dean swung her in his arms and she found herself with one leg in the air and he was holding her half way down to the floor. "W-Wha-" was this some kind of dance move- what the hell was this? It was so uncomfortable!

"I wasn't worrying… partner…" there was something about the way he said the word that sent chills down her spine. Though in the back of her mind she knew she shouldn't be surprised by how he was making her feel, considering she had flirted with him during her time in that hellish place.

"What are you doing?" she looked around nervously. "People are staring…"

He let out a chuckle as though remembering something fondly. "Frankly my dear," another chuckle. "…I don't give a damn." After that all she heard was him chuckle before rough lips covered hers.

A/N: I figured I'd end it here, I had no idea where to end it ^^; It looked so much more different in my mind… but oh well.. hope you enjoyed it.